‘Europe as a task —  Rethink, Rebuild, Repower’

The Embassy of Czechia in Kuwait held a joint press conference at its premises to mark the taking over of the European Union presidency from France from 1 July, 2022 for a period of six months. Also present at the conference was H.E. Dr. Cristian Tudor, ambassador of the European Union and H.E. Claire Le Flecher the ambassador of France.

As the president of the EU Council, Czechia will determine the agenda and priorities as well as preside over its meetings, to broker compromises among the states as well as to represent the Union at meetings with the other EU institutions and external partners.

Speaking at the conference, Ambassador of Czechia H.E. Jaroslav Siro, began his address by thanking France for its successful presidency and active approach assuring that the Czech presidency would follow up on their work.

Ambassador Siro disclosed that the motto of the Czech Presidency was  ‘Europe as a task – rethink, rebuild, repower’, which is based from the 1996 speech of the first Czech President Vaclav Havel in which he stressed that the tasks ahead of Europe deserve careful and thorough reflection.

Elaborating on the motto, the envoy said: “The Trio programme” of three consecutive EU Presidencies of France, Czechia and Sweden was endorsed on 14 December, 2021 at the EU General Affairs Council (GAC). The Trio programme was developed at a time when the major challenge for the EU was the post-pandemic recovery. It has therefore been focussed on protecting citizens and freedoms, developing the European economic model, building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe and promoting Europe’s interests and values in the world.”

However, he pointed out that the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 brought along the necessity of a fundamental reassessment of the EU priorities and significantly influenced the preparation of the Czech Presidency’s priorities.

Ambassador Siro explained that among the priorities of the presidency was to manage the refugee crises and post-war recovery of Ukraine, Energy Security, reinforcement of European defense capacities, including cybersecurity, strategic resilience of EU’s economy and resilience of democratic institutions.

For his part, Ambassador Tudor in his speech on the occasion noted that unfortunately one of the issues during the last six months was the return of war to Europe in the form of Russian aggression against Ukraine. He pointed out that Europe would continue to work with Ukraine and like-minded partners to counter this aggression and eventually Ukraine would prevail. He further elaborated that the EU Delegation played an important role in organizing and hosting regular meetings at the level of heads of missions of 17 EU Member states represented in Kuwait, which provided a platform for EU member states to exchange views and coordinate their work in Kuwait.

In her address Ambassador Le Flecher pointed out that the EU showed its capacity to act decisively on many fronts. Elaborating on this, she said that the EU had to address as a matter of urgency the major humanitarian crises provoked by the war, it also had to address the situation from a security and defense viewpoint, through coordinated supplies of military equipment to enable Ukraine to defend its territory.

Pointing out that the EU also acted to reduce its dependency on Russian energy supplies by deciding to stop imports of Russian coal and oil, and last but not least the EU decided on several successive rounds of targeted sanctions against Russia. She explained that the primary purpose of the sanctions was not to punish Russia but to put very strong pressure on it so that it stops its aggression and that Ukrainian national integrity could be restored according to international law.

In conclusion Ambassador Le Flecher said France was happy and very confident to pass the relay to the Czech Presidency, with whom they have been strongly coordinating, together with the European Commission and also wishing the Czech Republic good luck for their presidency.

With respect to the relations with Kuwait and the GCC countries, the Czech ambassador pointed out that high on the list of priorities of the Czech presidency was the firm support to the development and strengthening of relations with the Gulf countries, including Kuwait.

Czechia, he said, supports the proposal by the European Commission to grant the Schengen visa waiver to citizens of Kuwait and Qatar, which would help to strengthen people-to-people contact. He noted that last week the EU approved the negotiating mandate for the presidency to negotiate with the European Parliament on the liberalization of short-stay visas for Kuwait and Qatar. This, Ambassador Jiro pointed out, was an important step in the legislative procedure of the EU.

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